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As we stood on the edge of the beautiful spring green bluff staring down at the old castle the wind rustled through the pine scented forest behind us and spun my beloved twin sister’s raven hair with my own snow colored curls.
“Edana,” I whispered placing my pale hand on her delicate shoulder.
“Yes?” she asked turning.
Her sparkling emerald eyes were always unsettling paired with her raven hair that hosted a single scarlet streak. Yet she said the same thing about me and my cold grey eyes and snowy curls that shimmered with an ice blue streak. Though we were elves, she claimed it gave an almost wraith-like appearance whereas I felt she looked like a fire goddess.
“Eda… We need to leave.” I sighed almost as if I had only just admitted it to myself.
From where we were we could see the fires of the war-mongering forces of Isoa, the king of the Demons. The Demonic race are truly terrifying beasts, their skin is created from the ashes of the bodies from the first war in which their leader, my father’s brother, Isoa was removed from our sparkling, time-untouched utopia. Isoa was trying to gain the throne from our ailing father, and due to the war my sister, our beloved guards, Mohan and his brother Aden, and myself were under direct orders to leave.
“But Lillith,” she groaned, for once speaking verbally instead of using one of our many talents, telepathy. “We are daddy’s best warriors! Why are we being forced to leave?! He is the one who should go into hiding, after all, he is ill. We could lead his forces and he knows it!” I was referring to our father who was as old as time itself— Albrich, King of the Elfish. “Lillith... You are the calm one, I know you never seem hurt, are you sad we must leave? Father has ordered it but... You know he’d never let you fight. You’re just like mother, you may be an excellent fighter, cold and calculating, but he misses her. He’d be heartbroken to lose you but its still not fair!. “Edana sighed.
She hugged me from behind.
“I know he cares about you, Edana. You’re too much like him. He doesn’t want you to lose control and hurt too many people.”
I said, hiding the tears. I was the sensitive one but I refused to show it in public. I was a princess; we aren’t supposed to cry. We are also not supposed to be able to fight. We’re just supposed to sit there, do our needlework, play the harp and sing.
“Come on. We have to go back to Mohan and Aden before they pull us away from the bluff. I think Aden will break if you don’t go to him soon.”
“You’re right…” I sighed and went to the boys.
Aden looked at me worriedly, his frozen blue eyes full of concern. “Are you alright, Princess Lillith?”
“Yes, my apologies.” I whispered, walking past him. I ignored the sad look on his face, but no one could know I loved him or that he loved me. We were in different classes; a princess can’t be betrothed to a knight.
As little as I agreed with that law, it was the way our people had lived for the past thousand years. Who were my sister and I to change that simply because we loved a pair of knights…There was no way I’d tell my sister, but I knew about she and Mohan’s secret relationship.
Aden was a calm, spirited healer. He hated fighting but his dad forced him to become a knight. For this I was happy; we may never have met if he hadn’t. He had frost colored curls with a slate streak and shimmering, ice-blue eyes. Mohan, on the other hand, his fiery, easily-angered spirit was reflected in his raven hair, scarlet streak and evergreen eyes. Both twins were sweet as could be, but they were our guards. We could never let anyone know about our relationships, but for now we could at least enjoy it.
“Princess Edana?” Mohan said kindly. “Is everything alright? Your sister never does that. She never just walks past my brother. She usually at least pats his shoulder…. He’s going to be upset for a while now…. But are the two of you okay?”
Mohan was rambling; he always does when he’s nervous. Poor thing. I hadn’t realized just walking past his brother without the normal pat on his shoulder would upset Aden. I would have to find a way to make it up to Aden and Mohan later.
“Mohan,” Edana said. “We’re fine, and if I know my sister, she just needs a break. She feels that our father thinks she’s weak, but we know she isn’t. She’ll be back to normal soon.” She smiled and caught up to me quickly. “Lil…. You nearly made Aden cry, you should know better. You know he’s sensitive. Go to him. We’ll wait here for you. We won’t leave without you.”
I suspected she knew about my secret relationship with Aden… “Are you sure we have enough time? We need to get away quickly, remember daddy’s orders?”
“We have enough time for you to explain to Aden. I swear that Mohan and I will not leave.” Edana rolled her eyes, making it plain she was beginning to get annoyed with my worrying.
“I- Fine…” I consented with a sigh, and took Aden by the arm and led him away from his brother and toward the forest.
“P-princess?” Aden said, shocked. I very rarely took him from the others, especially after giving him the cold shoulder.
“I’m sorry.” I whispered, wrapping my arms around my dear knight. “I had not meant to upset you when I walked past. It’s just…I’m trying to deal with something.”
“Lillith, it’s ok. I was just worried. You never just walk past me.” He smiled kissing my forehead. “I thought I had done something to make you angry. I didn’t want to say anything in front of our siblings, but I was a little insecure over your actions.”
“Aden, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to! “I was hiding the fact that I was scared that he was still mad at me. You see, my mother, before her untimely death when I was 5 had abused me. She trained me that no one could ever truly love me or care. I hoped Aden was different though.
“Lillith, it’s fine,” he tilted my chin up so I was looking into his lovely eyes and kissed me softly. “I’m not mad dear. I could never be mad at you. I swear I’m not mad.”
The tears slid out my eyes and down my cheeks before I could stop them. “A-Aden…I love you… I just don’t want to hurt you again… I’m scared to lose you like I’ve lost almost everyone else. I’m even losing Daddy now… It’s Mom all over again…”
“Lillith,” he picked me up holding me on him. “Lillith I love you. You will never lose me. I swear. I will stay at your side forever, even if we have to run away to be together.” He pulled a hand made ring from his vest pocket, “Lillith, I was trying to find a better time but… may be this will help you. Will you marry me, my princess?”
A gasp escaped my lips as he asked, he knew I was forbidden but I wanted this so bad. It had plagued my dreams for the past three years, “Y-yes… Yes I will.” I knew that if my father did not approve I had just signed his death letter… but for once I was doing what was best for me.
“Thank you.” He whispered and kissed me gently holding me for a few more seconds before we went back to my sister.
“Princess? Is everything well?” Mohan asked me as I took my place on my sister’s right.
“Yes. For now...I pray it will be for my father as well...” I was still worried after all my father was ill and not as spry as he once was.
“Lillith don’t worry. Father will be fine. I promise.” Edana said stroking my long tresses.
“Are you positive Edana?” I whispered fear weighing heavily in my voice.
“Yes Father will be fine. He will send for us when the war is over.” She smiled calmly. “Now. Come. We must leave.”
I nodded, following her along the musky forest path. The light filtered softly through the needles on the tall pines above us. Had the urgency of our journey not hung heavily in the air like a hammer above the white-hot iron of a new sword it would have been a beautiful day for a walk.
As we walked I noticed something was off with my sister. She was just trying not to touch Mohan a little too hard. I caught her arm and whispered softly, “You like Mohan don’t you?”
She turned beet red and growled. I took that as a yes and stepped back and put my “mask” up. Whenever I have to deal with sorrow I suppose you could say that I shut out the world.
After about five hours we could finally see the light at the edge of the forest, we were finally almost to our portal! As we walked I glanced back, I saw a dark shadow in the dimming light and shrugged. “Edana,” I thought quietly to my sister.
“Yes?” She thought back annoyed, as if I had interrupted her thoughts. You see if we need some privacy we can block one another from our minds until they directly think to the other.
“Am I the only one that saw that shadow?” I knew my thoughts sounded worried and I silently hoped she’d dispel my fears.
“What shadow?” she thought turning to me with a slight roll of her eyes.
“I suppose it was nothing,” I was slightly hesitant as I answered her. I knew something was there, but why scare the others. It was probably nothing! Of course it was nothing. Why would someone be following us? It had to be one of the little woodland critters Edana and I loved so much… right?
“Ready sister?” Edana said with a smirk.
“Yes, “I whispered taking my sisters hand and slowly raising my other hand facing her.
Together, our eyes glazing over we whispered, “Le chéile againn ordú dhuit, buille gaoithe tríd, báistí titim isteach linn, fuip dóiteáin ag ár n-chosa. Oscail an tairseach go mbeidh a cheilt orainn as an méid hunts. Hide chugainn ó a díobháil. Sinn ó sin ar mian a mharú. Impigh mé de tú.”1 As we lowered our arms a small ring of soft blue light slowly appeared and grew in intensity and size.
As it expanded the glorious swirling blue light created a doorway. “Gents first,” Edana said with a smirk.
“Uh-uh.” Aden said grabbing my hand. “My brother and I will each take one of you to ensure your safety.” He smiled gently at me kissing my hand.
“Aden.” Edana said. “Do anything untoward my sister and you will die a slow and painful death. DOST THOU UNDERSTAND?!”
“Y-yes my lady!” Aden squeaked with a sweeping bow and he lead me into the portal as his brother and my sister followed.
“Together we order you wind blow through, we fall into rain, fire whip at our feet. Open the portal will hide us from the hunts. Hide us from harm. From those who want to kill us. I beg of you.”
We landed with a hard thud. As I stood I glanced around us. We were surrounded by strange looking people. They all had the skin tone the was very near the tree bark, there hair was flowing and raven-black, all the eyes looking at us were black and they were in garb that was totally foreign to all of us.
One spoke in a language that was unknown to me but I for some reason I understood what they said.
“Hello.” The gentleman said. His voice was soothing.
“Where am I?” I knew it was my voice but I wondered how I was speaking a language that I had never heard. It sounded weird.
“Japan young lady,” he said with a kind smile. His clothing reminded me of the silken robes my sister and I would wear after our evening soak.
“Oh?” I asked. Well knowing where we were cleared up the language issue. We must have been speaking that odd language my father had spoken of occasionally, ‘Japanese’ I think he called it.
“Yes ma’am,” He said. “Where are you from? You accent is unknown to me.”
“I –I’m…from very far away sir.” I was unsure of how to say where I was from. To these kind folks it would be somewhere that they had never heard of… My land was Dracheland.
“I may have heard of it,” he said gently sponging a long cut on my arm.
“No, sir I can assure you, you have never heard of my beloved home.”
“Are you positive? I am well read in volumes from all over the world.”
“My home sir is Dracheland.”
“I have never heard of it.” The man appeared confused.
“I knew you hadn’t heard of it. My home is a beautiful island and it is hidden by tall rocks and sirens. No man is brave enough to travel there.” I smiled thinking of my home. “It is on the coast of the Emerald Isle.”
“Oh? It sounds perfect, how did you get here if it is unsafe to travel?”
I sighed. How was I supposed to tell him? I was sworn to secrecy if I was off my dear island. “I’m not sure. “
His burrows furrowed. “How do you not know?”
“Sir… It’s very complicated but back away from my boss’s daughters or else you will meet the edge of a steely blade.” Aden glared his hand resting on the hilt of his sword.
“Excuse me?! I was just tending to her wounds!” The man said obviously insulted.
“Yes well you finished now step away!” Aden said.
“Aden,” I said in our native tongue with a soft smile. “Let the nice Japanese man up. We need no casualties on this side of the veil. There shall be enough of that on our home side.”
“Yes my lady.” He grumbled taking his hand off the sword.
“Thank you.” I said with a smile touching his arm. “After all, this nice man did help me.”
Aden grumbled, he was obviously upset that I had stopped him. He never did like others touching me. I felt bad but the man who just bound my arm did not deserve to perish and that is what Aden would have done to the man.
The gentleman looked confused. “Excuse me miss?” He said, his voice was vaguely worried.
“Yes?” I asked in his language.
“What just happened?” He asked.
“Oh, my guard just got told not to kill you mister…?”
“Ryu. My name is Ryu.”
“Well Ryu-dono. Aden was not happy that you even touched me. My father gave him and his brother the job of guarding my sister and myself.” I gestured to each person as I spoke.
“Well my dear lady.” Ryu said kindly. “Why don’t we continue our conversation somewhere more…Private, such as my home?”
“Yes please Ryu-dono,” I said standing and brushing my gown off then turned to my sister who was already on her feet.
Ryu looked at Mohan and Edana. “I mean not to be rude but may I know your names as well?” his tone was curious and not at all rude.
“That’s Edana and I’m Mohan,” Mohan said briskly.
“Alright Misses Edana and Lillith and Sirs Mohan and Aden, shall we be on our way? It’s a fair walk.”
We nodded and started down the lovely lane. The air smelled of cherries and there were merchants on every side of us. All were wearing the robe-like garb that Ryu wore. The clothing was beautiful and odd at the same time. There was so much to look at that I didn’t know where to look first.
Interesting scents filled the air. As we walked the familiar scent of ginger followed me. I knew it for it was in all of my father’s favorite dishes.
When I looked up I saw a canopy of flower’s but no sky. I missed the majestic blue of the sky back home. These blossms were divine but they could not compare to the home I missed so much.
After what felt like an eternity we reached our destination.